New Release: Betty Boop

Title: Betty Boop
Author: Roger Langridge
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Betty Boop works as a waitress at the Oop-A-Doop club. Sometimes she sings, despite complaints from her boss about not doing her proper job. She lives with her grandfather, who they call Grampy. Grampy is very gullible. A creature named Lenny Lizardlips wants to get Grampy’s house. He sends his henchmen to Grampy’s house, and each time Grampy signs the house over to them, believing their story of why they need the house. Betty has to rush home from work every time to save their home from Lenny Lizardlips. Her friends Bimbo, Sandy, and Koko help her out too.

This is the first Betty Boop story I’ve read. I was familiar with most of the characters from their appearances in other places in pop culture.

This story was very entertaining. Many of the characters sing throughout the comics, such as Betty, Skat Skellington (the club singer), and Lenny Lizardlips. They sang songs about what was happening to them in the moment.

I liked how each comic had the same general outline, with Grampy selling their house and Betty having to go to his rescue. However, the last comic had a great twist at the end that I didn’t see coming!

I enjoyed this graphic novel, and I look forward to reading more Betty Boop comics in the future.

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I.D.

Title: I.D.
Author: Emma Rios
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Rating: ★★★

Noa, Charlotte, and Mike want to undergo a new transplant surgery to get a new body. They meet in a cafe to talk about it, while terrorist attacks happen around them. Noa is a girl who believes she is a man inside. She wants to get a man’s body. Charlotte is a middle-aged writer. She’s curious about the transplant to a new body. Mike is researching the surgery, so he wants to try it to know what it’s like, hands-on. The three of them go to a meeting about the procedure, where they learn about the process of having their brain removed from their own head and implanted into a new body. At the end of the story, they all have the surgery.

The stories of Noa, Charlotte, and Mike were moving. The three of them came together over a procedure, when they wouldn’t normally have had any reason to know each other.

The idea of the procedure is also intriguing, because one thing that most people would want to change about themselves is their body. This was a great premise.

I loved the monochromatic art in this graphic novel. The graphic novel format was perfect for this kind of innovative topic because the modern comic art reflected the modern subject.

Limbo

 

Title: Limbo
Author: Dan Watters, Caspar Wijngaard
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Rating: ★★★

Clay has gotten a new identity. He doesn’t remember anything of his life before nine months ago. He now works as a private investigator. One day, a singer named Ms. Bridgette asks him to investigate her boss. She tells him she saw something strange happen with him in a room with other people. He was sitting in front of a TV and a man climbed out of it. But then her boss heard her standing in the doorway behind and saw her there. She wants Clay to investigate and find out what was happening. Her boss is a dangerous man, and her request puts Clay, Bridgette, and Clay’s roommate in danger.

This graphic novel is science fiction. It takes place in another world from ours. Everyone has different colour skin: Clay is blue, Bridgette is red, and Clay’s roommate Sandy is green.

The font of the speech was different for different characters. It distinguished who was talking. Sometimes the speech boxes were even different colours which related back to their different skin colours.

This story had everything, from cannibals to skeletons to mobsters. It was kind of weird and strange, but in a good way, so I couldn’t put the book down.

Stereotypical Freaks

Title: Stereotypical Freaks
Author: Howard Shapiro
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Publisher: Animal Media Group
Release Date: November 14, 2012
Rating: ★★★★

Tom and Dan are friends who want to start a band to play in the battle of the bands at their high school. They consider themselves outcasts in school. When Tom starts tutoring his former friend, Mark, they ask him to join the band too. But then they need a drummer. Jacoby is the foreign exchange student from Canada, who is also an awesome drummer. They invite him to join, but he is distant at practices and doesn’t seem to have much time to devote to the band. They name their band the Stereotypical Freaks, because they all fit stereotypes (nerd, goofball, star athlete, quiet foreign exchange student) but they don’t fit in with the rest of the kids at school. However, when one of their band members reveals that he is dying of cancer, they have to decide if they still compete.

This graphic novel has a diverse set of characters. Mark is African American. Jacoby is an Inuit from Nunavut. This story shows one of the struggles that Inuit peoples face. Since Jacoby comes from such a small town, he has to move to Pittsburgh to get medical treatment for his cancer. I like that it brings some awareness to Inuit peoples of Canada.

I liked the style of art in this graphic novel. They are black and white sketches, rather than full colour pictures. This style fits with the indie band that the boys form.

I really liked this story and I’m excited to read the next graphic novel in the trilogy!

Emma (Manga Classics)

Emma Woodhouse thinks she’s a great matchmaker. The story opens on the wedding of her former governess, Miss Taylor, marrying Mr. Weston. Emma’s father is devastated that Miss Taylor will no longer live with them but Emma assures him this is a good match for Miss Taylor. Emma meets Harriet, a young girl who lives in the school in town. Harriet never knew who her parents were, but Emma is sure that her father had a high standing in society. When Harriet gets a proposal from a farmer, Emma insists that she turn it down because she can marry someone better. Emma sets Harriet’s sights on Mr. Elton, who ends up falling for Emma. Meanwhile, Mr. Weston’s son comes to visit. Mr. and Mrs. Weston want Mr. Weston’s son, Mr. Churchill, to marry Emma so their families will be joined. However, when Harriet confesses to being in love with Mr. Knightly, Emma’s brother-in-law, Emma realizes she has loved him all along.

I really like this adaptation of Emma. Some scenes are interpreted differently to accommodate the graphic novel format. For example, the novel starts with Emma and her father sitting in their house, discussing Miss Taylor’s new marriage. However, the graphic novel opens with Miss Taylor’s wedding, with Emma and her father speaking in the pews of the church. This makes the opening of the graphic novel more active, since pictures of people just sitting and talking in their home would be a boring way to start it off.

At the end of this book, the author describes some of the changes she made to the original story. The story still unfolds in the same way as the book. There are some twists at the end of the story, which could have been demonstrated earlier in the book for people who have read the original. But she kept these surprises a secret for new readers, who haven’t read Jane Austen’s original, so they will experience the twists for themselves.

This was a great adaptation of Emma. I will be posting more reviews of Manga Classics from UDON Entertainment in the coming weeks.

Pride and Prejudice (Manga Classics)

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books. I love the adaptations of her classic story, especially ones in different formats.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, it follows Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters on their way to finding love. Their mother, Mrs. Bennet, believes if her daughters have a fortune, they will be happy. Unfortunately, their father’s estate is entailed so it will be inherited by a distant cousin instead of the Bennet sisters. When Mr. Bingley moves into the large estate down the road, Mrs. Bennet is certain that one of her daughters will marry him, since he is wealthy. They meet Bingley and his friend Darcy at a ball they host at Bingley’s estate, Netherfield. Immediately, Elizabeth decides that Darcy is too proud to have anything to do with her or her family. Jane, Elizabeth’s older sister, falls in love with Bingley, and their mother begins to plan the wedding, though they aren’t engaged.  Soon after that, Bingley, Darcy, and Bingley’s sisters move back to London. Jane is crushed when she realizes her relationship with Bingley is now over. Elizabeth and Jane then go on alternating holidays with their aunt and uncle, eventually leading them both back to Darcy and Bingley. Elizabeth will have to learn not to be so quick to judge people, and Darcy must put his pride aside to find love.

This manga version from UDON Entertainment follows the plot, but it fills in some gaps that were in the narrative too. For example, we get to see Darcy’s reaction to Elizabeth at the Lucas’s ball, when he first falls in love with her. This graphic novel gives an objective perspective, by showing Darcy’s reaction, whereas Austen’s novel follows Elizabeth’s perspective. 

The language was more straightforward and simple in this graphic novel. It lost some of Jane Austen’s beautiful prose.  However, this would make the book more accessible to readers of all levels. 

There were two different manga art styles in this book. Most of the time, the pictures were realistic, a more traditional manga style. But sometimes the smaller frames had small cartoon drawings, that were less detailed. This change in style happened when Lydia, Kitty, or Mrs. Bennet we’re excited, talking about boys and/or money. The less detailed drawings demonstrate how childish and superficial those women were acting.  

I’m excited to read more manga classics in the coming weeks. Look for more reviews coming soon!

Jonesy Vol. 1

Josephine aka Jonesy is a high school student. She lives with her father, who owns a donut shop. She also has a pet ferret. The story follows Jonesy through major parts of the school year: Valentine’s Day, a talent show, prom. She also has to face the idea of her father starting to date. Though these are fairly ordinary things that most teens face, Jonesy is unique. She has a special power: she can make people do anything she wants. Jonesy discovered this power when she made her two favourite characters on her anime show fall in love. The only problem is that the powers don’t work on Jonesy herself. She isn’t able to make her crush (a pop star named “Stuff”) fall in love with her. 

This graphic novels was so entertaining. It was very funny. There were many times that Jonesy spoke directly to the reader, especially at the beginning of the chapters. This breaking of the “fourth wall” set the scene and brought me into the book.  

This story also has a diverse cast. Jonesy is latina. Her best friend, Susan, is black and has a crush on a girl. It was refreshing to see these diverse characters in a YA/middle-grade graphic novel.

I definitely recommend this graphic novel and I can’t wait to see the next volume!